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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – Profit and Lace (Review)

Profit and Lace is a disastrous misfire, a late-season catastrophe that many would consider to be the absolute nadir of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. At best, it is an episode that belongs in conversation with Meridian, Prophet Motive, Let He Who Is Without Sin… and The Emperor’s New Cloak. It is a very bad piece of television. It could reasonably be argued that the toxicity of Profit and Lace is not even quarantined. The episode is so bad that it becomes a retroactive taint upon Deep Space Nine‘s attempts to develop and flesh out the Ferengi.

Some of the show’s best episodes focus on the Ferengi characters, like House of Quark or Family Business or Little Green Men or The Magnificent Ferengi, not to mention all manner of very solid stories like The Nagus or Bar Association or Body Parts. The writers on Deep Space Nine did a tremendous job developing and humanising the Ferengi, but the late one-two punch of Profit and Lace and The Emperor’s New Cloak erases all of that good will. Suddenly, the Ferengi are appearing in episodes as tone-deaf and ill-advised as The Last Outpost.

How Ishka got her groove back.

There are any number of reasons why Profit and Lace is so horrible. On a very basic level, it is a comedy episode that is simply not funny. The script is built around jokes that were already tired by the standards of fifties Hollywood, but refuses to do anything interesting or compelling with them. It is uncomfortably backwards-looking and regressive, its sexual politics feeling horribly outdated. The direction veers wildly between something approaching earnest world-building and broad slapstick, resulting a tonal mismatch that is toxic to the touch.

Profit and Lace is a stinker, by just about any measure.

A Quarky installment.

The writers had no idea of what they were about to unleash upon the world. According to The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, the writers were expecting that they’d hit it out of the proverbial ballpark:

Profit and Lace could have been the Some Like It Hot of Star Trek. The teleplay worked fine. “The script was delightful,” states Ira Steven Behr. “[Creative Consultant] Michael Piller’s memo on it was, This is going to be a classic!'” Instead, the episode had the dubious distinction of appearing on the bottom rung of Sci-Fi Entertainment Magazine’s “10 Best, 10 Worst” DS9 episodes list.

To be fair, Chase Masterson still has relatively fond memories of the production. “I also really enjoyed making [sixth season show] Profit and Lace, teaching Quark how to be a woman – it doesn’t get much better than that.”

Sorry, Chase. But I beg to differ.

At some point, something went horribly wrong. It is tempting to argue that Profit and Lace suffered from audience fatigue. It was the sixth “lighter” episode of the season, following the broad comedy of The Magnificent Ferengi and Who Mourns for Mourn?, along with the more whimsical storytelling of You Are Cordially Invited…, One Little Ship and His Way. The quality of these episodes was inconsistent at best, but these softer and gentler stories stood out in contrast to the more weighty storytelling of Waltz, Far Beyond the Stars, In the Pale Moonlight or Inquisition.

However, there is more it than this. To suggest that Profit and Lace suffered from a “whimsy backlash” is to ignore its very severe flaws. The Magnificent Ferengi was brilliant, one of the best comedic episodes in the franchise. Who Mourns for Mourn? and You Are Cordially Invited… were uneven, but enjoyable. His Way was as problematic as it was goofy. One Little Ship was a waste of a potentially fun story hook. However, they were all much better episodes than Profit and Lace. Even if those episodes were not consistently funny, they tended to be competent.

A Brunt assessment.

Profit and Lace is awful on its own terms. Part of this is baked into the concept. Profit and Lace can be boiled to the plot summary that “Quark has a sex change, and it is hilarious.” Of course, it makes sense that this basic plot would appeal to the writers on Deep Space Nine. It feels like something from a forties or fifties comedy. Some Like It Hot is the most obvious example of the trope, but cross-dressing was a popular comedic trope in the middle of the century; Bugs Bunny was quite fond of the practice, and Cary Grant got in on the act in I Was a Male War Bride.

The writers on Deep Space Nine were very heavily influenced by classic Hollywood cinema, to the point that many episodes can be read as extended homages to those classic feature films; Profit and Loss is Casablanca, Fascination is A Midsummer Night’s DreamHomefront evokes Seven Days in May, while In Purgatory’s Shadow began as a nod to The Great Escape. Errol Flynn is a point of conversation in Past Tense, Part II. It seems inevitable that the production team would get around to doing Some Like It Hot sooner or later.

The mother of all screw-ups.

Of course, the use of cross-dressing and the subversion of gender norms in Some Like It Hot has been heavily discussed and debated by film critics and historians. Many would argue that the film was cheekily subversive against the backdrop of the Hayes Code, silently progressive in the way that it teased out its ambiguities. Even those critics wary about its handling of transgenderism would acknowledge that Some Like It Hot was relatively open-minded by the standards of its time.

Of course, there are two big caveats here. The first is that Some Like It Hot is genuinely hilarious featuring a whole bunch of brilliant performances and clever jokes. Profit and Lace is just terrible. It is hard to quantify humour, given that “funny” is inherently subjective. However, Profit and Lace is undermined by a complete lack of any of the humanity and energy that made Some Like It Hot so good as a piece of classic cinema. After all, this is a problem faced by many of Deep Space Nine‘s homages. Inviting comparisons to a classic is a double-edged sword.

The art of the deal.

However, the other caveat is arguably even bigger. Some Like It Hot might have been a cheeky and subversive in the context of the late fifties, but Profit and Lace was broadcast almost forty years later. Standards had changed, and awareness had evolved. Popular culture was increasingly engaging with the diversity of sexual expression, of perspectives outside the familiar and established heteronormative framework. Of course, that diversity of circumstance and experience is still not truly reflected in film and television, but change was in the air.

The Adventures of Priscella, Queen of the Desert charted the journey of two drag queens and a transgender woman across the Australian Outback, enduring as a queer classic to this day. The following year, American audiences received To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar, focusing on three drag queens. Although it is not held in the same esteem as The Adventures of Priscella, Queen of the Desert, it is recognised as an example of a high-profile and well-intentioned queer film.

“We’re sorry, Captain. It will never happen again.”

A little over a year after Profit and Lace was broadcast, Boys Don’t Cry would emerge as a bona fides Oscar contender, focusing on the tragic true story of Brandon Teena. At the Oscar ceremony a year-and-a-half after Profit and Lace, Hilary Swank would win the first of two Oscars for her work in the lead role. While the casting (understandably) remains a bone of contention to the queer and trans community, the film still attempted to offer a sympathetic and nuanced portrayal of a character transitioning from one gender to another.

As such, time were changing. That is not to suggest that the general public were entirely accepting of non-heteronormative sexuality and identity. The rights of transsexual individuals are still far from secure; there are depressing self-harm and suicide rates within the community, while there are also a horrifying number of hate crimes directed at transsexual individuals. However, by the late nineties, there was no excuse for not being aware and cognisant of these identities.

“Everybody liked The Magnificent Ferengi, right?”

Of course, the Star Trek franchise never properly engaged with LGBTQ rights. There were a few casual allusions in episodes as clumsy as The Outcast or as well-intentioned as Rejoined. However, it frequently seemed that there was little diversity in twenty-third or twenty-fourth century sexuality. Deep Space Nine made a few small nods through the implied bisexuality of Jadzia Dax, but this was undercut by the absurd and grotesque camp of the mirror universe episodes.

Despite the fact that these discussions were taking place in the mainstream, the franchise often seemed stuck in a very outdated and backwards-looking approach to sexual identity. As such, the comedy stylings of Profit and Lace feel woefully ill-judged. This is an episode which finds Zek’s reflexive sexual harrassment of female!Quark to be hilarious, which lingers on the perceived ridiculousness of dudes kissing other dudes and the absurdity of dudes hugging other dudes, which thinks it is hilarious that Rom knows about “women” stuff.

Mourn likes to watch.

There is a screwball comedy sequence wherein Nilva chases female!Quark around the room as she struggles to escape his clutches. It is a scene that leans heavily into physical comedy, but which finds the idea of man-on-transgender sexual assault hilarious. It is very much an extended homage to those classic comedies, relying on physical humour and awkward poses, but it is an awkward fit in an episode that is supposedly about securing equal rights for women.

Although most of the episode’s gender-based humour is simply ill-judged, the episode is book-ended by gags particularly mean-spirited. The episode opens with Quark sexually harassing on of his dabo girls, conduct that Sisko alluded to (and hoped to stamp out) as early as Captive Pursuit. Quark’s conduct with Aluura is not simply over-the-line, is downright creepy. Quark doesn’t just imply that he wants sexual favours from his staff, he makes a point of emphasising his power over her before giving her a book on how to satisfy his sexual appetites.

An Aluura-ing proposition.

“You’re nice to the customers,” he reflects. “You’re nice to the dabo girls. You’re nice to the Ferengi waiters. You’re nice to everyone. Almost everyone.” Aluura protests, “But I’m always nice to you.” Quark licks his lips. “I think you could be nicer.” It is a line that might easily have come from Gul Dukat. For a comedy episode, that opening beat is incredibly unsettling. Quark has always been a rogue, but the writers clearly have a great deal of affection for him. There is something uncomfortable in the casualness with which Quark attempts this blackmail.

This all boomerangs in the closing scene. After Quark has transition back to his original gender, it would make sense for Quark to have learned something from his experience. After all, Profit and Lace is arguably a classic “mile-in-their-shoes” story, with Quark experiencing sexual harassment and patriarchal entitlement firsthand. However, Profit and Lace does not suggest that Quark has grown from his experiences. Instead, the final scene mocks Quark for allowing himself to be so thoroughly emasculated.

The once and future Nagus.

Odo finds Quark crying. He sniffles, “My hormones must still be out of balance. My emotions are raging out of control.” The gag would not be any funnier when Star Trek: Enterprise repeated it in Unexpected. When Aluura shows up, having decided to give into Quark’s sexual harrassment, Quark recognises the error of his ways and apologises. “Forget what I told you. It was wrong and I apologise.” It seems like a happy ending, until Quark realises that he gave up free sex and chases after Aluura.

The point is not that Quark has learned anything from his experiences, the joke is that Quark has been so thoroughly emasculated that he turned down the opportunity to exploit a beautiful young woman in his employ. Even ignoring the tired “real men always want to have sex, ha ha!” stereotypes at play, that final scene is an incredibly mean-spirited punchline to the episode. It undercuts any real exploration of gender inequality or patriarchal oppression that might have taken place over the previous forty minutes.

A nice ring to it.

Then again, it is not as if Profit and Lace was ever particularly committed to the idea o exploring gender norms within Ferengi society. On paper, Profit and Lace is about the evolution of Ferengi civilisation. The Ferengi Alliance is thrown into chaos when Zek declares that women are equal citizens. Zek is deposed, and the future of Ferenginar depends on Zek (or his allies) convincing Nilva that equality is an ideal worth pursuing. The original plan is for Nilva to meet with Ishka, but fate intervenes; somehow Quark undergoes a gender reassignment and steps into the breach.

That is a lot of tonal whiplash for an episode, even before heaping the unfunny jokes and the tired “dude in drag” premise on top of it. Deep Space Nine has spend enough time developing Ferengi culture (and its Ferengi characters) that this feels like an organic development. Rules of Acquisition touched on the issue of gender equality, a thread that continued through episodes like Family Business and Ferengi Love Songs. Given how much emphasis Deep Space Nine has placed on this idea, the issue of gender equality on Ferenginar merits a semi-serious treatment.

Dudes kissing dudes.
Still hilarious in 1998, apparently.

One of the big issues with Profit and Lace is that of tone. The episode bounces between extremes, both earnest about the idea that women should be treated equally to men and flippant about sexual assault and harassment. In an interview with Star Trek Magazine, actor Cecily Strong conceded that this tension played out on set:

As for the Ferengi in general, Cecily admires the way they’ve been used, not just as comic relief but to introduce some deeper themes. “I credit, of course, the writers, but Armin as well; Armin really is interested in exploring more than just the comedy aspect of the Ferengi.” Sometimes, though, the producers have shied away from showing anything too tragic. Cecily says, “In Profit and Lace Quark and I have a big argument, and I have a heart attack. Sid – Alexander Siddig – directed, and he and Armin and I talked about exploring the dark side of the Ferengi.

“We shot it very dark and Armin and Sid were really happy about it, but when people watched the dailies they didn’t like it; they wanted the Ferengi to be funny. So we reshot it where my heart attack was silly instead of serious – I just make a funny face and fall out of frame! Quite frankly, I think that was a lot better. But although the Ferengi are the comic relief, it’s really surprising and your guard is down when something touching happens, because you’re not expecting it.”

There are scenes in which the director and cast play events relatively seriously, particularly early in the episode. There is something resembling desperation in the first few acts, as Ferenginar drops out of contact and as Zek struggles to hold on to power. However, the second act is dominated by broad comedy. It does not gel.

Group shot.

There is a sense that directer Alexander Siddig has been asked to direct a comedy that he does not find funny. Most of the“comedic” scenes have a stiff quality to them, as if they have been set up to hit all the technical beats expected of a funny sequence, but without any real enthusiasm. This is particularly notable in the way that Siddig approaches his expansive Ferengi supporting cast. Profit and Lace frequently crams those characters into the same frame, crowding around one another. It feels like Profit and Lace is setting up a reaction shot for a joke that never arrives.

Siddig is not alone in his clear disdain for the material. Armin Shimerman is a fantastic performer, one of the best actors in the cast, but he has always found a perverse humanity in Quark. Shimerman imbues Quark with a strange dignity, a belief in his own integrity, even as others doubt it. Shimerman tends to work best when he plays Quark straight. Indeed, even the best Quark-centric comedy episodes tend to treat Quark as the straight man, like his frustration with Klingon culture in House of Quark or his nationalist pride in The Magnificent Ferengi.

Keeping their ears to the ground.

In an interview with Starlog, Shimerman concedes that the production of Profit and Lace was deeply troubled, with the producers forcing the actors (and director) to go back and shoot key sequences:

“I remember that as being a very problematic episode, simply because we shot many of the scenes over again. We would shoot scenes and the producer/writers did not care for our take on them. So we reshot. I’m thinking of one scene in particular, in which  Moogie [Cecily Adams] and Quark have an argument and it ends up with her having a heart  attack. We shot that rather darkly, and I liked [director Siddig’s] take on it quite a bit. I wanted to explore — what’s the word I’m looking  for? — the dysfunctional aspects of Quark’s family, the darker elements of a dysfunctional  family where things get so horrendously bad  that it causes someone to have a heart attack. We shot it that way. It was the take on it that both Sid and I liked.

“I must say that Cecily didn’t care for it,” adds Shimerman, “and, obviously, the producers didn’t care for it either. So we reshot it. I thought of that episode really as a one-joke episode: let’s put Quark in drag. That must have been the basic idea and then they filled in  the blanks. It didn’t say much of anything. It would have been a great chance to let Quark  see the other side of male chauvinism, to be a  woman and to explore all of that. Perhaps he would have learned something from it. To some small degree he did, but we didn’t really explore that very much, either.”

Working on a regular weekly television schedule is a grueling experience. Working on a regular television schedule and being forced to reshoot scenes in a manner against your interpretation of a scene must be horrific.

What a cola customer.

All of this is frustrating, because there are some interesting ideas here, buried beneath the surface. In particular, the episodes makes a number of arguments about female empowerment on Ferenginar. Equality is obviously a substantive good in its own right, because it recognises personhood as something intrinsic and worthwhile, regardless of gender. However, Profit and Lace is careful to make an economic argument for equality. It is an argument that is respectful of the way that Ferengi culture operates.

Profit and Lace makes a capitalist argument for gender equality. “Face it, Quark,” Zek remarks of his decision. “It’s good business. For thousands of years, Ferenginar has allowed a valuable resource to go to waste.” Quark protests, being a social conservative. “Females?” he challenges. “A valuable resource?” Zek elaborates on exactly why he thinks that gender equality is a good idea. “They make up fifty three point five percent of the population and contribute virtually nothing to gross planetary income.”

“Doctor Bashir certainly did a wonderful job on this episode, although I’m not sure I’d call it a complete success.”

For all its many problems, Profit and Lace understands the logic that drives the Ferengi. “Let me see if I understand,” Nilva outlines. “Giving females the right to wear clothes allows them to have pockets. Once they have pockets, they’re going to want to fill them with latinum.” female!Quark continues, “Which means they’re going to need jobs.” Nilva observes, “And once they start earning latinum, they’re going to want to spend it.” female!Quark explains, “Which means Ferenginar will be expanding its work force and its consumer base at the same time.”

Gender equality is good for business. “There will be plenty of profit for everyone,” Nilva reflects. In its own way, this is a very utopian thought. Profit and Lace suggests that the end point of Ferengi capitalism is a more benign and enlightened form of capitalism, one that understands that a welcoming and open-minded society will inevitably be profitable for everybody. Ensuring that everybody has money to spend ensures a healthy economy; there is no profit in discrimination or oppression.

Feeling a little crowdy.

In some ways, Profit and Lace suggests that a well-rounded Ferengi society would resemble the academic ideal of capitalism. As Guinevere Liberty Nell reflects in The Driving Force of the Collective:

Austrian-libertarian defense of a self-interest-based society is that the invisible hand leads those merely seeking personal gain to bring about a peaceful, prosperous society; and indeed, the Ferengi sre a peaceful species. Ferengi do not start wars (although they do sell weapons to others, including violent species) and so are about as peaceful a people as any in the galaxy, seeking only profit and personal gain, not violence, revenge, or power over others. The rational constructivism of socialists would prefer the emotionless logic of the Vulcan, which aims at the common good – even subordinating the one to the many, saying “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one”, but the libertarian right or homo economicus is represented by the profit-seeking peaceful species, the Ferengi. Bryan Caplan (discussing homo economicus) provides an explanation for why the Ferengi are peaceful: “Just think about what war would be like if every guy on every side is like, ‘Alright, well I’m only going to do this is there’s a very tiny risk.’ So, you know, homo economicus could end terrorism, give us world peace.”

It is a very convincing argument, and it is interesting to see Profit and Lace embrace it. It is an approach to gender equality that feels very much in-character for the Ferengi.

Dial it back there, Nog.

Of course, capitalism does not work like this today. Wealth tends to become centralised over time, and economic gaps between social classes tend to broaden rather than narrow. Introducing more wealth (and more customers) into an economy does not result in more movement of capital. There are other factors at play that make it hard to realise this ideal. Still, the socialism practiced by the Federation does not exist today either. More than resources or theory, human nature seems to stand between mankind and a better future.

The Star Trek franchise assumes people are more-or-less decent. That is the underlying assumption of the universe, that human beings are hardworking and compassionate. That is how the Federation can exist as a post-scarcity economy in a world with replicators and holodecks. The socialism practiced by the Federation in Star Trek would be impossible to realise today, because it is predicated on a world without hunger and a world without borders, but also a world without anger. Remove those constraints, and political philosophies become a lot more sustainable.

Family business.

Deep Space Nine has long rejected the idea that the Federation and Starfleet represent “the right way” to build a society. Deep Space Nine is arguably the first truly multicultural Star Trek, accepting that there are other ways of looking at the universe and that the Federation adheres to one of any number of viable political and moral philosophies. Other viewpoints are welcomed and encouraged, whether the spirituality of the Bajorans or the warrior culture of the Klingons.

Profit and Lace suggests that it is possible for societies with different ideologies to make logical and organic progress without abandoning those philosophies in order to integrate. The Ferengi might eventually embrace gender equality, by they will do it on their own terms. They will not do it because it is morally right, or because they believe in inalienable human rights. They will grant women freedom because that is the ultimate expression of a free market. If the Federation can invest in compassionate communism, the Ferengi can endure compassionate capitalism.

Giving Ferengi women a fair earring.

Of course, very little of this philosophical argument is allowed to develop over the course of the episode. Nilva does not choose to support Zek because he is convinced by the argument. Nilva supports Zek because he wants to sleep with female!Quark. “Let’s go tell Zek that I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure he remains Grand Nagus,” Nilva states. “Because that’s what Lumba wants.” Nilva is not won over by logic; female!Quark gets her way because Nilva wants to sleep with her.

It is a really bitter and cynical moral at the heart of the story, suggesting that women are ultimately only granted power by men because of sexual attraction. It is very clear that Ferengi women owe their freedom to the fact that Nilva really wanted to hook up with female!Quark and was willing to throw out generations of social conditioning in service of that desire. Logic and reason will never triumph, not over lust and sexual desire. It is a very misguided sentiment, one very much at odds with what should be the central theme of the story.

Hang in there.

In some ways, this issue is compounded by the way that the Ferengi supporting cast on Deep Space Nine has become so cemented and established. Increasingly, the stories about Ferengi society have come to settle on a very tight ensemble of preexisting characters. Family Business was really the last time that new characters and new perspectives are rarely introduced to these stories, introducing Ishka and Brunt. It feels like the show’s perspective on Ferengi culture has actively narrowed in the years since the third season.

Although The Magnificent Ferengi might have properly introduced Leck, and Profit and Lace introduces Nilva, these are not major players in the grand scheme of things. In the later seasons of Deep Space Nine, it often feels like the most important Ferengi in the universe are only one degree of separation from Quark, that there are only about six Ferengi really worth knowing. Of course Grand Nagus Zek hooks up with Ishka, despite the fact that their meeting leans heavily on contrivance; they are the only major Ferengi characters of a similar age.

A beautiful plan.

This sense of a very small universe is at work in Profit and Lace. Zek arrives on the station in the teaser, having been deposed. “I’m no longer Grand Nagus,” Zek states. Quark responds, “Then who is?” Ishka follows up, “Who do you think?” Quark gets it in one guess. “Brunt.” Brunt has come a long way from the official tasked with investigating Quark’s mother, ascending to a position of galactic power in spite of countless humiliations and embarrassments. It would make a lot more sense for somebody else to be Nagus, even if Brunt were still scheming.

Although this is a minor issue with the episode, it does tap into that big problem with tone. Profit and Lace feels like it should be an issue-driven episode about a society coming to terms with its oppression of women, representing a huge step forward for the Ferengi Alliance. However, this intriguing dramatic hook is shoehorned into a broad farce leaning on an established comedic ensemble. Although the Ferengi have always been comedic characters, Profit and Lace reduces their entire culture to a farce.

Let’s not make a big deal about it.

Given the work that Deep Space Nine invested in building up and developing Ferengi culture, in fleshing out Ferengi characters and elaborating on Ferengi philosophy, that feels like a colossal disappointment. It wipes out a lot of the (perhaps lukewarm) goodwill that the creative team had managed to build up against one of the franchise’s most hated alien species, turning them into a joke once again. The problem with Profit and Lace is that this joke is not particularly funny.

Profit and Lace is a complete and utter failure.

12 Responses

  1. Ugh, this episode…

    Star Trek has a fascinating (if often disastorous) track record with gender switching that is probably (definitely) to long to go into here. I did always feel disappointed that the show cast the post Jadzia version of Dax with another woman. I think there was a real missed opportunity there, though I liked Ezri and I admit that would have skewed the cast even more heavily male.

    • I think Behr has made that case, fairly, that if one one of the male show leads had opted not to come back, they wouldn’t have added a replacement to the cast. (They might have bumped up Garak or Rom or somebody, I suspect.) But I think the fact that it was one of the two female leads (and that Kira would be the show’s only female lead left) meant that the production team kinda had to add another female character to the cast.

      Interestingly, if the producers had stuck to the plan to fire Garrett Wang at the end of the third season, Voyager would have been the first Star Trek show with a fifty-fifty male-female cast.

      • The absence of female characters is quite startling when you think about it. I suppose the fact the show had one great female regular (Kira) and one great female recurring antagonist (Kai Winn) disguise how unbalanced things were really.

        I suppose numerically speaking ‘The Next Generation’ and ‘Enterprise’ are no better but I think DS9 has less excuse due to it’s huge pool of highly developed frequently recurring characters – Rom and Garak and Dukat and Martok and so on.

      • Yeah, I mean, I’d feel churlish laying into Deep Space Nine when Kira and the Daxes are probably the best-developed female characters in the franchise. But it is striking. And a reminder of just how outdated certain televisual norms were in the nineties, and perhaps still are.

  2. If Siddig had been allowed to play it as dark as he wanted prior to the reshoots, would it have salvaged the episode? I don’t mean that it would make it *good*, per se, but at least make an interesting misfire; was the potential there?

    • I suspect that the problems with Profit and Lace begin with the premise, but I do think that playing the episode more grounded and dark would at least limit some of the damage. Not nearly enough, but some. Whether that means we’d be dealing with a misfire on the scale of The Muse rather than Let He Who Is Without Sin…, I have no idea.

  3. Curious which you find worse, this or “Let He Who is Without Sin.” Personally, I find “Let He Who is Without Sin” worse because it is so boringly terrible, and I have no idea what the point of that episode was supposed to be. Profit and Lace is at least memorable, and I can sort of get what they were going for. Though I will admit the opening and closing scenes of Profit and Lace are some of the worst scenes put to Star Trek celluloid.

    • That’s really Sophie’s Choice, isn’t it?

      I mean, I’d argue that Let Who Is Without Sin… at least has the foundation of a decent episode with the New Essentialists on Risa, giving us a Star Trek take on the religious right waging a twenty-fourth century culture war against decadence and sexual liberation. Of course, it’s botched horribly, but it’s interesting.

      Profit and Lace seems to have been misguided from the word “go.”

    • I disagree. “Profit and Lace” envokes from me every superlative negative word one could say about a tv episode. I felt that “Let He Who is Without Sin”, while being a complete failure, didn’t make me feel ill. This one did. It’s the single worst episode in the entire Star Trek canon in my opinion. It’s hard to believe the team that produced “In the Pale Moonlight” thought this was acceptable.

      • I think they’re both horrid, for fairly similar reasons. They seem very retrograde, very old-fashioned, very outdated. They feel like episodes of fifties sitcoms transposed into the nineties, and it’s glaring.

  4. Episode199 is the dabo girl that kisses quark a transcestote actress in real life?

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